Shakira, Usher join ‘The Voice’ this spring

The prospects for pant-less days and bedazzled outfits on “The Voice” just diminished significantly: NBC announced Monday that Shakira and Usher will join the show’s judges panel in the spring, filling in for pant-fearing Christina Aguilera and sequin-loving Cee Lo Green.

The move will allow the veteran judges some breathing room as they embark on other projects. Aguilera is releasing a new album and going on tour. Green is working on new music and developing a scripted comedy series for the network based on his life. Not to worry, ladies (and gentlemen): Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will still be around.

“We are thrilled to welcome Usher and Shakira to ‘The Voice,’” said NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt in a statement. “Doing two back-to-back cycles of this show requires a tremendous amount of time, and we are happy to accommodate the commitments made by Christina and CeeLo. The participants on our show benefit from our coaches’ expertise and their continued success in the music business allows for significant new contributions to the contestants when they return.”


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Wanting to ride “The Voice” wave some more after solid ratings, the network added a fall cycle of the show, which launched earlier this month. The move adds to the celebrity coaches’ already-full schedules but has proved somewhat advantageous in other ways. Thought ratings were down from the previous season, this season’s premiere still drew people away from the second-season premiere of Fox’s “The X Factor” and Britney Spears’ GIF-able expressions.

Will the new additions keep things from going south? Usher recently secured his fourth No. 1 album, ‘Looking for Myself” -- his seventh studio album. He was the latest to be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for the OWN series “Next Chapter.” And Shakira has a forthcoming English album in the works, with the first single expected to drop later this month.

In case you need to update your scorecard, let’s review:

“American Idol” now has Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson

“The X Factor” boasts Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell.

“The Voice” features Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilea -- the latter two will be swapped with Usher and Shakira in the spring.

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Follow Yvonne Villarreal on Twitter: @villarrealy